The three characters’ lives

Button’s Lane, Rogers Lane and Bennett’s Alley were named on local maps in 1751; they had been shown on maps since early C17th. Might our three mariners have anything to do with the names?

Thomas Button was not from Poole but he was responsible for the wellbeing of Poole’s Newfoundland fleet in the Narrow Seas during the 1610s and early 1620s. The two others, John Bennett and Woodes Rogers, from later in the C17th (1670 and 1679 respectively) had grown up in Poole; Bennett living here for most of his life.

We reviewed their lives and were struck by the extraordinary experiences they had and the nature of the times in which they lived. We concluded that further study of their lives and some of their acquaintances offered a metaphor for what we were looking at in our project – Poole’s Maritime History between 1580 and 1730.

That is why Admiral Sir Thomas Button, Captain John Bennett RN and Royal Governor Woodes Rogers feature so much in our project. Their lifetimes spanned the period and highlight particular times in the story of Poole’s development.

Sir Thomas Button


Was a Welsh officer of the Royal Navy, notable as an explorer who in 1612–1613 commanded an expedition that unsuccessfully attempted to locate explorer Henry Hudson and to navigate the Northwest Passage.

John Bennett RN


John Bennett the younger became a captain in 1695 at the age of 25 and sailed to Virginia, Hamburg, Archangel in Russia, Cape Town and the West Indies but seems not to have seen action or otherwise distinguished himself in the service. 

Woodes Rogers

Royal Governor

Was an English sea captain and privateer and, later, the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas. He is known as the captain of the vessel that rescued marooned Alexander Selkirk, whose plight is generally believed to have inspired Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

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